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5 Jul

Latin American governments urged to detail spectrum awarding plan 

In the last Latin American Telecommunications Congress (CLT19), much of the debate addressed the need to accord more spectrum to operators ahead of the arrival of 5G. Governments should award spectrum with a clear understanding of how it shall assist in achieving digital inclusion goals. That was one of the main outcomes of the CLT19, according to Bnamericas. Until September 2018, Latin American countries had awarded an average of 363,8MHz of spectrum. The amount represents only 28% of the 1300MHz advised by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in 2015. Private stakeholders claimed that regulators should precise a clear view to operators to guarantee that they have legal security to make their investments. Telefónica highlighted that telecom operators make 70% of investment in the digital environment, but receive 40% of the income as a consequence of the over the top (OTT) emergence including Google and Facebook. The company pointed out that the sector has completely changed in the past 20 years and it is still regulated in the same way. The congress also stressed that high prices to award spectrum and taxes will result in less investment in infrastructure and high prices for the end users. The GSMA predicts that 5G technologies will contribute US$20,8 billion to Latin American economies by 2034. Facebook required changes in the regulatory focus because telecommunication is migrating from a voice to a data model. The congress was organised by the Latin American telecoms association (Asiet), the GSMA, the ITU, and Latin American development bank CAF. 


 

24 Jun

O2 and The European Space Agency in connected vehicles 5G and satellite R&D programme

O2 and The European Space Agency have launched Project Darwin, a four year initiative aimed at exploring the use of 5G and satellite technology for connected and autonomous vehicles. O2 conducted research last year that uncovered that connected vehicles would generate 4Tb of data per hour which would place a significant demand on existing telecommunications networks. The universities of Oxford and Glasgow along with Spanish satellite operator Hispasat will be fellow collaborators and the project will be based at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire. The Harwell research will be critical in the birthing of new transport ecosystems and it is expected that this programme will accelerate the maturity of network technology for various connected vehicle initiatives.

11 Jun

Closing the digital divide is 'urgent', UN High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation warns

Findings of the final report of the UN High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation has shown that a multistakeholder approach and adequate funding is required to help ensure affordable access to digital networks for every adult by 2030. According to a news report that provided highlights given by the panel which briefed the UN General Assembly, as the world becomes increasingly digitised, there is a risk of the number of marginalised people offline increasing.

Nichola Astrup, minister of digitalisation of Norway said ‘Digital tools are fundamentally changing the way we relate to each other and organize our societies. We must ensure that developing countries, too, can benefit from the digital solutions. Otherwise, we will never reach the SDGs by 2030. 


 


 

10 Jun

FCC Authorises US$166.8 million to expand rural broadband

According to a news release by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), it has authorised US$166.8 million in funding over the next decade to expand broadband services to 60 850 unserved rural homes and businesses in 22 states. This represents the second wave of support from last year’s successful Connect America Fund Phase II auction. Providers who qualify to execute the broadband buildout will start receiving funding this month.

6 Jun

Huawei and African Union increase cooperation

Huawei and the African Union have signed a draft agreement to reinforce cooperation in various areas including 5G communications, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and high-speed networks. This agreement between Huawei and the African Union is in line with a previous agreement signed in 2015. Huawei is currently in a dispute with the United States due to its leadership in developing 5G equipment for mobile phone networks where the US has accused the telecommunications provider of providing equipment that jeopardise national security.

6 Jun

Legal right to 10Mbps Internet begins March 2020 in UK

Ofcom, the UK telecom regulator, has confirmed, with a definite timeline of 20 March 2020, UK homes and businesses will have a legal right to request decent and affordable Internet connections. 

According to the press release on Ofcom’s website, the universal service obligation (USO) will become a safety net for consumers and businesses, with guaranteed speeds of download of at least 10Mbps and upload speeds of at least 1Mbps priced at £45 or lower. More importantly, Ofcom has also promised that these minimum speeds will be adjusted over time as the amount of data people demand changes.


 


 

6 Jun

Fiber optic cable connecting Grenada, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines completed

Part of the World Bank funded Caribbean Regional Communications Infrastructure Programme (CARCIP) National Broadband Project involves the installation, maintenance and operation of an undersea cable system for Grenada, St. Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG). The subsea fibre optic cable has been recently laid through the Grenadines. It is hoped that this increased capacity will have a positive impact on the broadband penetration within SVG and significant improvement in the quality of Internet Services provided locally is expected.

5 Jun

FTTH Council Europe elected a new president and disclosed strategies for 2019

The Fibre to the Home (FTTH) Council of Europe has announced Kees de Waard as the new president of the organisation. The FTTH was created in 2004 and currently has more than 150 members working to promote the benefits of fibre access across Europe. One of the priorities for 2019 is to continue lobbying for a unified position on copper switch off among EU member states. The organisation plans to propose solutions to address regulatory hurdles which prevent Europe from becoming a full fibre continent. It aims at requesting EU authorities to complement the European Electronic Communication Code with guidelines on fibre advertisement.

4 Jun

FCC working on capping funding for the rural and the poor

According to a report, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has voted to take initial steps to cap spending on the FCC's Universal Service Fund (USF), which serve as an avenue for broadband deployment to poor and rural people and other underserved areas. The vote is claimed to have caused pushback from state and local education technology groups, who see this move as having a tendency to widen the digital divide gap.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s plan is to set a combined cap of US$11.4 billion on the four programmes that make up the USF.  Pai’s reasoning behind the cap, according to the report, is to ‘strike the appropriate balance between ensuring adequate funding for the Universal Service programs while minimizing the financial burden on ratepayers and providing predictability for programme participants’.


 

3 Jun

CRTC launches Broadband Fund to improve Internet and mobile wireless access

The Canadian Radio Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has announced the launch of a Broadband Fund for projects in Canadian territories and satellite-dependent communities where there is a dire need for enhanced broadband Internet and mobile wireless services.

The fund will provide up to CA$750 million over five years to support projects in underserved areas. Applicants are encouraged to apply for funding for projects to build or upgrade access and transport broadband infrastructure or mobile wireless networks. They must however, have at least three years of experience deploying and operating broadband infrastructure in Canada.

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